WOW, long time to write a first post…
Call it “Wadi Barak”, “Nahal Barak” (Same thing but in Hebrew) or what ever you want, I simply love this site. Sure, there may sometimes be better conditions in other places, but the few times I came to this site were almost perfect. The only drawback I could find was the wind that was way too strong until it died out at around 11PM.
You’re probably asking now “where the heck is this site?”, and the simple answer is down south in the Negev Desert. A more accurate answer would be about 45km south of the town Mitzpe Ramon beyond the wonderful Ramon Crater, the largest erosion cirque in the world.
Or, if you prefer a map, here it is: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=30.36921,34.973899&num=1&t=h&z=16
On October 12th this was the place chosen for our monthly star party, in lieu of the regular abandoned camp north-west of Mitzpe Ramon.
I arrived at the site well after dark, as I probably continue doing for the winter as I have classes every Friday, I had the pleasure of setting up my equipment in the dark. A cold wind blowing across the desert, the Milky Way about our heads and a casual chatter with neighboring cars served to make the conditions perfect for the night.
My goal for the night was to test the full setup: SkyWatcher 150P OTA, HEQ5 Pro mount, EO S1000D camera, EQASCOM control and the new battery with lighter sockets attached to power the mount. Laptop and Camera charging were handled with a small inverter off the car battery.Unfortunately with all the work to do, I did not have a chance to observe much with any scope that was there but still had a pleasant night.
My targets were M33 “Triangulum Galaxy”, the “Rosette Nebula” and M78. After doing some extensive polar alignment and goto training for EQMOD (12 stars FTW!) M33 was quite easy to find and I could make out it’s shape on every sub-exposure I’ve made, almost smack center. My fears arose though when I noticed a bit of a blur in the image which made it certain I was out of focus and without a focusing mask, getting the camera in focus was quite hard.
After focus was established, pics were taken of all 3 objects and I’m quite proud of them and will post them later.
Around 4AM I decided to quit, set the scope to capture darks and went to sleep. At 5:30 with the sun only a little bit under the horizon I started taking flats and packed for home. |
All in all, a great star-party at a great site and there’s even cellular internet reception there.